Just like old times.
The first regular-season game at Nassau Coliseum in four years was reminiscent of the Flyers' dominance in years past.
Travis Konecny and Travis Sanheim continued their red-hot play with first-period goals, and Brian Elliott stopped 29 shots in a 4-1 victory Sunday over the Islanders.
Here are my observations:
• Jakub Voracek missed his first game of the season with a lower-body injury and is day to day. As a result, interim head coach Scott Gordon elected to go with 11 forwards and seven defensemen (which he admitted he doesn't prefer to do). However, I question the Flyers' decision to not carry an extra forward on this three-game road trip and/or why they didn’t call one up from Lehigh Valley, which would have been a short drive to Long Island.
• After losing Nolan Patrick, who took a shot to the back of the head, the Flyers were relegated to just 10 forwards. With that, Gordon was forced to mix and match his lines. One thought was to move a defenseman into a fourth-line wing role, like Shayne Gostisbehere. Patrick missed the remainder of the game with an upper-body injury and is day to day.
If Patrick can’t return for Wednesday’s game against the Capitals, it will be interesting to see what direction Gordon goes with his roster. The team could recall Justin Bailey or it could possibly give Greg Carey a look on a short-term basis. Carey has three 25-goal seasons with the Phantoms.
• You don’t see Sanheim overpower a forward too often, but he has a nose for the goal right now as he bulled his way past Anthony Beauvillier to score his fourth goal in his last four games. Sanheim has become the Flyers' best offensive defenseman and he’s putting up the numbers to prove that, with 14 points in his last 16 games.
• Did you notice just how horrific the Islanders' defensemen were in this game? Konecny abused Scott Mayfield on the Flyers' first goal, but the real gaffe came with Nick Leddy and Johnny Boychuk collapsing on Michael Raffl, leaving the Islanders' forwards to fend for themselves in front of the net. Scott Laughton took full advantage and put home his own rebound.
The third Flyers goal of the game, courtesy of Scott Laughton! pic.twitter.com/pvA925Uo68— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) March 3, 2019
• Who knows how the goaltending job will be divided once Carter Hart returns, but as long as Brian Elliott continues to turn in solid performances, Gordon needs to ride the hot hand. Elliott hasn’t had a clunker of a game since his return from injury, and while he doesn’t always make a textbook save, he just stops the puck, and this was one of his best against Jordan Eberle.
• The Islanders provided such a lifeless performance, you can’t help but wonder if there’s a letdown following their 6-1 trouncing of the Maple Leafs in the return of John Tavares. Perhaps it’s perfect timing the Flyers face them three times this month, including next Saturday.
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